Reflections at an airport

Oh, I think I deleted the original one I had penned down while waiting for my flight at the Delhi airport a few weeks back. But…never mind; given my memory is not worth relying on, a half-forgotten story will let me let loose the noose of imagination! Hopefully, that will lead me to exaggerating a few facts and turn them into no-longer-facts. But, if you are reading this, you obviously have nothing better to do and I can afford to deceive you to the extent that doesn’t affect you greatly. And I promise, it won’t!

What worried me was the difference that lay on either side of the walls of this huge airport building. Wait, I’ve evidences favoring it! I’ve seen a family that half-followed the same route to the airport as I did. They got down from a bus at a place I was waiting for an auto-rickshaw. (I had, in fact, the luxury of travelling to that point in a cab in which one of my colleagues generously offered a place). And as I embarked on a breezy auto-rickshaw ride, they decided to board a taxi. Well, the ground rules seem to be- if you plan to travel in an airplane (I had written ‘aeroplane’ and MS-Word drew that squiggle underneath- ha! these Americans!), you are supposed to reach the airport in a taxicab (in fact, at least four wheels should drive you there instead of three, as in my case), whether you can afford it or not, more importantly whether you at all need it or not (especially when it’s not summer and the sun hasn’t set). Call me a miser; I didn’t feel the need to use a taxi that day.

That was more or less all until I got past the main entrance security. And as I did so, the only question I asked myself was- Do people save the best piece of clothing from their wardrobe for an air-travel? Women, in general, were in their gaudiest of outfits. Surprisingly, men followed trends- they tended to display the rich brands of tees and jeans they sported, as well.

As I uncomfortably loitered around, I found a spot where I could sit- two empty chairs next to a man who had his laptop on his lap- I chose the one away from him. He was using the Internet. My bad! I overlook the device connected on the other side; I asked, “Amm…do we have Wi-Fi here?” He looked at me and politely replied back, “I don’t know, I have Tata Photon+” (And yes, he emphasized on “+” probably because he had a faint idea I would be able to appreciate the fact that the one with a “+” was better than the one without). So, I had to take out my laptop. Now I realize- anyone who like me, never ceases a chance to criticize people would say- “See, after all his sermons, he is flaunting his notebook”. Had he known it was a corporate one, he would have added-“... not even a personal one!” I have my own excuses- I had mails to check and more importantly time to pass (waste?). The airport unsecured Wi-fi system was working fine (and would be valid for an hour- enough to keep me busy for some time), thanks to people like the one next to me who were using their own means of connecting to the cyberspace.

With the boarding-pass in my hand, the security-check stamp in place and the digital clock in the lounge telling me I still had an hour to go, I kept myself busy watching people, updating Facebook friends that I was doing so and typing down notes on my observations. What amused me was- people tend to speak softly inside an airport; the same gentleman who would shout at his wife and children outside the general store tries to be gentle and gracious in order not to attract undue attention from fellow onlookers- every man thinks in this way and recursively, silence is maintained! The same guy who spits chewing-gum on the road now searches for a dustbin. Call it his trepid nature or the strict enforcement of law at an airport; things are in place- more or less the same way we want India to be (some optimists say, in 2020!).

I wish life was same on either side of the wall. For an individual. Of course, if you want it to be good, don’t forget to subtract the ostentatious nature from those well-mannered ladies and gentlemen!


(Dear Reader,
I couldn’t cut it short- in fact, there still remains so much to write!)

Years back, I had chanced upon the English daily The Statesman which was undergoing some format changes; the editor had written-“Change is the only constant”. It left me an impression that I carry to this day.
Whatever it is- for the better or for the worse, you’ve got to accept change! You can’t stop the tick-tocking of the watch you are wearing or the clock that hangs on the wall- not even if its battery is drained! We all change with time- physiologically, psychologically, socially, culturally, economically, politically and less often religiously (our views change, of course).
As a kid, when we live with parents under their aegis, we have little options but to believe in the same religion as our parents do (more importantly because we don’t know why some other religion could be better); when we hear elders discussing politics, we tend to be biased by their political ideologies; we live in the same house as our parents do, eat the same food, go to the same parties, wear the dresses they buy for us. At school, we study several different subjects without knowing the need to study them; we get to meet new people, make friends, learn about them and try to compare their ways of living with ours. But we have little scope to change things our way.
As we move to high-school, whether we still live with parents or not, we acquire interest in certain subjects, start playing certain games, hang out with certain friends (mostly not the same ones), become curious about the opposite sex, raise our voice when we don’t like the clothes our parents buy for us, develop newer habits (mostly bad) and start telling lies!
By the time we get to college, we usually stay away from our parents; that’s when we feel the air of independence- we make new friends, sometimes play newer games, stay up late at night, again  devise innovative means to draw attention of the opposite sex, engage in activities that exceed our own expectations (without caring if the good-boy/girl image that was so delicately structured since childhood would be blemished), lanky ones try to put on some weight, the chubby ones try to lose them, both visit the gym more often, listen to rock-music, lose interest in most subjects; criticize the education system, the socio-political system, etc., start questioning the conservative views and trying the unconventional ones (for many, just to look ‘cool’).
But just when we start to feel we’re soaring and had enough experience in all aspects of life, we are pushed into this abyss where we feel like a total stranger- most of us need to stay away from the caring parents and comforting friends. With financial independence, satiating unfulfilled desires become easier and we exhibit change in behavior. We start to act and speak diplomatically; again make new friends all of whom would ‘smile’ at you when you pass by and most of whom would backbite you as soon as you’re gone!
If we look back, we’ll most certainly find that our interests changed with time- from the songs we listened to, the books we read, the subjects we found interest in, the games we played, the movies we preferred, the people we idolized, the TV channels we watched, the food we ate, to the company of friends we thought we couldn’t live without! If change hadn’t constantly been part of our lives, we would have lived a boring, predictable life. So, I say, like it or not- Change is good!

Under-utilized Idiot

No, no…. I am not talking about myself. My manager however might claim this title apt for me, and rightly so. But, the idiot I am talking of is the one that gracefully adorns each of our drawing rooms. If I can correctly recollect the day the three roomies went to buy ourselves a television, we were pre-decided about getting one that is fairly cheap (the cheapest that would suit a family of three bachelor engineers) and of course, it had to be a CRT. We narrowed down to two sets; the seller was bent on selling us the more expensive one because it had one additional feature- one could vary amplitudes of different frequencies. All we understood after four years of electronics engineering was: it had better audio-control features! And to the seller’s disappointment, we had gone for the cheaper one.

When I look back today, I feel greatly pleased at our decision. Why? None of the three of us are ‘big’ cricket fans or movie freaks and as a result, we do not remain glued to the box. After spending (read ‘wasting’) the greater part of the day at office, we are usually tired to sit in front of the television. We however connect to the Internet. The reason, I feel, is TV doesn’t let you see (this is our case, of course) what you wish to see. On the other hand, the cyberspace allows you to roam about independently- browse to whichever website you want to, read on whatever topics allure you; watch whatever videos you are interested in, that particular day; listen to whichever songs you feel would suit your mood, that particular day.

The only time we get to sit together and watch the television is when we eat our dinner. But, we keep leapfrogging from one channel to another trying to decide what we should watch- we never arrive at a conclusion. Frustrated, we pass on the remote-control from one hand to another, hoping that decision-making abilities will eventually dawn on the other person. Surprisingly, we all fail most of the time and end up watching some bogus commercials. Weekends are supposed to be more entertaining but lazy people have lazier weekends- we are too sluggish to even walk to the next room to watch a television programme. For us, television has ceased to become a source of edu-tainment- it remains in that room of ours, gloriously welcoming every rare guest that walks into it and silently wishing someone would turn it on every night and switch several channels.


How was your date? He was just awesome!
How was the food at the Italian restaurant? Awesome!
How is my profile pic? You look awesome!
How does the Prof teach? He has awesome knowledge on the subject!

I bet you hear statements similar to the ones above every day. And this very fact tells me that either people lie or have a serious problem with either their vocabulary or expressing their emotions. I am fed up with people using (read ‘misusing’) the word awesome! My observation is- people who don’t use the F-word use this word as often! If diamonds were as abundant as pebbles, diamonds wouldn’t have been expensive. Women would have been seen wearing pebble-jewelry; men would have gifted pebble-necklaces to their lady-loves and wars would have been fought on sea-shores! If it’s the rarity of a thing that makes it precious, shouldn’t we restrain from overusing it?

But why do I claim this word to be ‘precious’? Awesome means ‘inspiring awe or admiration or wonder’ (This wasn’t looked up using the plump Oxford; my lackadaisical nature prevents me from doing so; I used the handy WordWeb). Awe means ‘an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration’ and overwhelming means ’so strong as to be irresistible’. I would drag it no further! It’s enough to help me make my point which is lame anyways (and assumes the authenticity of the version of WordWeb I am using).

If our emotions were, I repeat, ‘so strong as to be irresistible’ so often, I feel there’s an immediate need we reform them before they start controlling us and our ways. It’s high time we give up its frequent use or calmly wait for the word to lose its awesomeness.

PS.: There are people who think it would be an awesome idea to comment: “An awesome article!” I warn you against it!

What I (don’t) Miss…

I like the rain, the seductive wind that follow and the water-logging,
Filth and mud that get entangled in the shoe, the frogs nagging;
Concrete disciplined lanes and flyovers, I don’t miss you!

I like the small-town roads and the dim street lights that lit them up,
Lazy bicycles, rickshaws, bikes and a few old-fashioned cars;
Gaudy Audis and BMWs, I don’t miss you!

I like the small store my mother takes me to, to buy me the new-year gift,
The genuine smile on that seller’s face, the excitement that makes him drift;
Colossus shopping malls and fake greetings at branded stores, I don’t miss you!

I like the dispute with neighbors, the noisy quarrels over minor issues,
Next day the bowl of the fish I don’t get to eat that they offer me;
Neighbors with false courtesy, I don’t miss you!

I like the stairs that lead up to my room,
Not a tiring scale, a refreshing one- I tell you;
Elevators and escalators, I don’t miss you!

I like the food at home, they are delicious and I tend to overeat,
The love and care that goes in to cooking them, the hands that feed me;
Fake aroma at a McD table, forks and spoons, I don’t miss you!

I like the poverty, the honesty and the genuineness,
The feeling of being at home, surrounded by those who care for you,
Mirages of luxury and comfort, I don’t miss you!

To a RELIGULOUS friend who believes ‘Religion is Ridiculous’…

(A break from the pathetic pieces of poetry)

Never an ardently religious person, I have always visited temples to give my parents a company. When they visit these places, I feel it’s better to go inside with them, take a look at the idol, the jewelry that adorn it and get amazed by the sculpturer’s talent and the pundit’s memory at reciting hymns, rather than standing outside alone, biting nails and getting irritated by insects that throng dusty places. Once inside, invariably, my mother forces me to bow down before the idol, ring the heavy brass bell that is so typical of a Hindu temple and take some coins and notes out of the wallet reluctantly in honor of the deity.
As a child, one reason I did not protest visiting temples is- I have always been so fond of the prashad and could never afford to miss out on it! I have always wondered if the deity ever got his/her share of the prashad because it came back to us, to feast upon, with the exact shape and size as we had offered. As I grew up, my tongue started desiring different other flavors as well, and I now wish pakoras were also offered to the deity.
After reading all this, you must be thinking that all I am trying to say is- I am an atheist. You are wrong! I pray to God as well, but only when I am in great trouble and feel nothing but a miracle could place things back in order. And when I pray, I just don’t know which God it is; because it’s enough that my prayers are answered, irrespective of who answers it. But I must admit, unconsciously, images of some common deities show up as I pray. There being millions of deities in this religion, probably it’s your upbringing that decides which God you visualize while you are praying, as a Hindu.
Another confession: I like going to churches, gurdwaras and mosques as much as, visiting a temple, if not more. I like the silence of a chapel, the oneness in a mosque and the charity in a gurdwara. As for other religious places of worship, I don’t remember observing what I like about them. Next time I pay a visit to a monastery or a Jain-temple, I’ll surely take note.
On my way to Vaishno-devi, I acquired a belief that faith can make you do wonders. I have seen people taking the long walk along the uphill terrain chanting ‘Jai Mata Di’ at an age when I might even consider before flying in an airplane. Literally, the devotee crowd comprised of all age groups from eight to eighty. I’ve seen men and women in crutches defy their everyday handicap to get a glimpse of the Almighty- it’s faith that drives them.
I live in a country where the long list of cancerous problems we need to attend to keeps growing and the rich are spending money to build architectural marvels in honor of some God. Should I be ecstatic? I can hear you cry out loud, “No!” But to all the skeptics, I say- If not elated, at least don’t be disappointed. It’s important something keeps these people busy- they are not fools who expect miracles out of stone sculptures-they just want something as a last resort to hold on to- it’s faith that drives them to live- it’s something that lets them choose hope over rope!


The violin plays no longer, my bow is lost;
The leaves fly in the wind no longer, the angel visits my dream no longer,
My imagination is lost;
The fireflies glow no longer, the roses in the garden I can see no longer,
My vision is lost;
The roads meet no longer, the name of that fruit she taught me to eat I remember no longer,
My memory is lost;
The waves break on the shore no longer, the storm bestows confidence in me no longer,
My strength is lost;
The bees hum no longer, the pebbles on the river-floor I feel no longer,
My senses are lost;
Praises I can afford no longer,
My words are lost.
Where is that mind made of iron, when all is lost?
All that remains is rust, choking in the storm of dust,
Clinging to that lonely mast!

A sequel to “Grief made me a poet”

(Fiction again):

And when you have said what you wished you had said,
You think, ‘I should not have said!’
Because now you know-

When you had enough reasons in favor of you,
You had as many against you.
When you got carried away by emotions,
You had ignored logic.
When you interpreted things the way you liked them to be,
You forgot there was a simpler way.
When you acted foolishly,
You never realized you could have been more sensible.
When you weighed the pros and cons of the situation,
You never did it selflessly.
When you had tried something different,
You could have been the same old person.
When you thought this was your chance,
You never thought there wasn’t going to be a second chance.
When you feared hurting yourself,
You forgot you could also have hurt her.

But now you know-
You are a soldier and you’ve got to march on,
Over what you bled!

Grief made me a poet

My first poem (an extremely short one to begin with):
(That this is my first endeavor in poetry-writing will be more evident after you finish reading it.)

The pain, my friend, keeps growing every day,
How I wish I could say!
The countless sleepless nights that I spent- the sorrow and the vent,
The infectious smile on your face, the disturbing thoughts they raise,
Reminds me of the truth time and again,
That you are too good for me.
But something tells me, ‘Go, bare your heart before her’
I think it’s the smile on your face.
I am too weak, struck by grief,
How I wish I could say!


Use of emoticons has fascinated me ever since I saw them being used the first time. But after several years now, I really feel I haven’t learnt enough of this language, let alone mastering it. I was never particularly good at using correct punctuations in a sentence, when in school- and chances are, these things would never improve after school! And imagine my misery using them all together-sometimes in conjunction with alphabets (:-D, K or L ? or none of them?)!
I must admit I have been an extremely slow learner and could go no beyond :) and :( for the first year or so (Not that I have improved greatly since then but yes, I have added nominally to the cart).This baffles me greatly. Emoticons being no better than sign languages in written form should be extremely easy to use. Probably cavemen used similar methods to convey messages to fellow cavemen of similar intellectual ability. Don’t you still pity me? I have started being skeptical of my intellect and the ability to “learn things quickly” (or so was my manager’s feedback- now I know how blatantly he lied!)
Anyways, it took me really long to realize that the alphabets actually represented our faces placed horizontally. And still, for some reason, even today, I can’t make out what exact expression of the face most of them correspond to!
I had somewhere read that it takes us about eighteen muscles of the face to smile. And only a painter knows how the slightest strike of the pencil could change expressions on human faces. There is a Wikipedia page named “List of Emoticons” which I frequently need to refer to, to know what emoticon a particular friend used or which emoticon I should use while replying. Believe me, most of the time, I have failed to find an appropriate emoticon that suited my feelings and had to invariably go for a substitute closest to it. Aren’t we oversimplifying our feelings just to save us writing a few words? Wasn't the primitivism- the crudeness in our behaviour- honest expression of our feelings? 

Incred!ble India

Being a novice, I really don’t know (and don’t care) if I am posting too frequently but the point is I cannot ignore the fact that I live in a country where cricket is religion and India just won the World Cup. My Facebook-news-feeds are flooded (three pages and counting) with updates from the match. If you are expecting a post-match summary or for that matter an analysis, quit NOW! Because, there are already enough people who never held a cricket bat in their life and yet consider themselves experts of the game and would readily agree to sit over a cup of coffee to explain what went wrong with Sri Lanka today.
Well, I watched almost the entire game, partly on our television reclining on my arms and partly on the giant screen installed in the centre of our housing (popularly known as “society”, something that amused me during my initial days here). I cannot but agree that I spontaneously clapped after boundaries were hit by Indian batsmen. Every run was being cheered for- the atmosphere was indeed electrifying. I relived the old days when I used to cheer for the team with increased vigor than I do today (Probably interests change with time). And I must say, I am regaining the luck I was missing while supporting the home team ;-)
What strikes me with awe is the unity this game brings to the country- the belief that these players, mostly youngsters, foster into the hearts of billions. Frankly, I was not expecting India to go beyond the Quarter-finals after the initial debacles in the league matches. But tonight has been miraculous and emotions have outplayed reasons! Fireworks lighted up the night sky. The mass took part in insane celebrations, irrespective of the petty parochialisms that rule the everyday-life. Was there a Raj Thakre supporter today who would drive Dhoni away because he hailed from Jharkhand? Was there a revengeful Bihari whose eyes didn’t swell with tears when Sachin was carried on the shoulders of his team-mates, wrapped in the Tricolor? Was there a Muslim who didn’t sing to the tunes of Vande Maataram during the final overs of the game because some orthodox leaders of the community considered that it promoted idolatry? Was there a Bengali who was unhappy because Dhoni did what Sourav could not, eight years back? Was there an Indian who did not cherish with glittering eyes the moments when the team held the coveted Cup and posed for the photo-shoot? These are questions that make me rethink the potential of the game. It really doesn’t matter whether I like the game or not- if it can bind a culturally, socially, politically and religiously-diverse nation together, all I can say is: Take a bow, the king of all games, Cricket! 

Necessity is the mother of invention

History: I had considered writing a blog long time back, thanks to Mahul Bhattacharya whom I deeply admire. But call it my lethargy or weakness, I never really felt the need to do so. I must say, I like writing….mostly crap. And that’s what led to the inception.

Nomenclature: First things first….the name of the blog !
Well, that’s what becomes of you when you are in the telecom industry long enough…(wait, long enough?) Some might be amused by the name but most people would be frowning. If you belong to the former category, you know why this is amusing. But if you try to relate the name with something you studied and find no relation at all, don’t feel insanely stupid because my idea was to keep it simple. If you belong to the other class, I am glad I don’t have to pity you because you don’t know why…. because it’s better not to know why ;-)
Logical Reasoning: Bored with my idle state at office, I thought this would be a good way to connect “to and with” you J
Geography: I wasted more time contemplating the templates, the fonts and the colors to use in my blog more than I did on the blog title. And I must admit, whatever I try spontaneously turns out to be more appealing! Every suggestion on improving the looks of the blog would be appreciated, none on improving the contents would however be ! That’s because the high-speed Internet connection at my office allows me to spend long hours on changing templates and colors but NOT my ideas.
Philosophy: You must have been bored by now and might as well be considering yourself an “April fool”. If you are feeling so, I will consider my first blog partly successful. But, most likely, you will not admit! Not that I care! Believe me, sometimes it’s good to be fooled! Because at least you smile! J